MANILA - Sen. Pia Cayetano on Monday questioned Sen. Imee Marcos' decision to hold a hearing on the economic impact of the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act (CITIRA), which the lawmaker from Taguig has been defending in the Senate plenary for weeks.
Hours after Marcos held a hearing where several resource persons raised issues against the bill, Cayetano said bills and resolutions about the CITIRA should only be discussed by her Ways and Means Committee.
"We have already conducted several hearings in this matter... It's a little bit confusing to this representation that there will be another hearing on the CITIRA... It's very possible to come out with different reports," Cayetano said.
"Why do you have a chairperson on the Senate Ways and Means Committee on the floor, if you have another chairperson hearing the same matter?" she told senators.
"She (Marcos) even made a comment na, 'So hindi pala totoo ang chismis na okay na kayo [sa CITIRA]?'" she said.
(So rumors that say you are already okay on the CITIRA are not true?)
Marcos tackled the issue after a resolution seeking to probe the impact of the CITIRA to the national economy was referred to her Committee on Economic Affairs.
"If you read the resolution in its face, it is referring to the economic impact. We cannot avoid these things from happening because of the broad responsibilities of our committees," Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said.
Marcos apologized to Cayetano, but refused to suspend future hearings to study the economic impact of the COVID-19, Visiting Forces Agreement abrogation, and the CITIRA, which she called "triple whammy."
"The scope of economic affairs is so wide. If this (CITIRA) arise once again, may I simply turn over whatever positions there are to the committee on Ways and Means?" Marcos said.
"In the spirit of Women's Day which was yesterday, I hope she (Cayetano) accepts my personal apology," she said.
'DON'T TRY TO MEDIATE'
Cayetano refused to yield to Marcos' request, prompting Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri to appeal to Sen. Cynthia Villar to "mediate" between the two lawmakers who are members of the Nacionalista Party.
"I appreciate the efforts that all of you have done to mediate, but it's not a matter of mediation but a matter of clarifying the jurisdiction," Cayetano told her colleagues.
"I sound exasperated because I am. I want to move on with work but I cannot until this jurisdictional issue is resolved. Please don't try to mediate. Just resolve the jurisdictional issue," she said.
The Senate leadership agreed to refer all resolutions to the Committee on Rules to avoid similar "frictions" in the future.
"All resolutions filed will be referred to the Committee on Rules first so we can make a discernment," Zubiri said in plenary.
"It will be a slight delay but I think this will lessen the friction among our colleagues."
Marcos left the plenary before she settled the dispute with Cayetano who happens to be her seatmate. Marcos clarified that she "did not walk out" from session, but had to attend to her son, Ilocos Norte Gov. Matthew Manotoc, who visited her office.
President Rodrigo Duterte has certified the CITIRA bill as urgent. The revenue-neutral measure is expected to lower corporate income taxes, but rationalize incentives for several companies, especially those operating in special economic zones.